There's A New Chameleon In Town
[Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Stephen Root, Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy]
image from BeyondHollywood.com
RANT: Today was an odd day. I did get to the gym early enough so that I would have time for breakfast and getting a good seat at the theater. I did get breakfast at 11am just when McDonald's was changing the menu boards. But my housemate met me for her Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bagel and we chatted until 11:30, which changed my arrival to the theater. Once in the theater, I was forced to switch seats four times to 1) escape bad angles to the screen, 2) escape kids kicking the back of my chair, and 3) get away from a seat that was being saved for someone.
SYNOPSIS: A chameleon falls out of the back of a car - and into the Mohave desert - where he comes upon a Wild West town with residents in need of hope, a sheriff and water.
Director of the first Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Gore Verbinski reteams with his Captain Jack Sparrow actor Johnny Deep to use his voice talents as a chameleon looking for adventure - and finding more than he bargained for in a Wild West town in the Mohave desert.
Writers John Logan, Gore Verbinski and James Ward Byrkit bring animation to the Wild West, and the classic western to animation. But serving Rango as an homage to the best of the genre is only the beginning. Sure, Shane, Blazing Saddles, and Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name films are cited or intertwined into the tale, but Gore Verbinski introduces other films to Rango as well. The trained (and untrained) eye will see Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Star Wars: A New Hope, Deliverance, Transformers, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - even The Day of the Triffids - somewhere along the tale. What results is pure pleasure and excitement!
Every character is so detailed and rich, every western film stereotype turned into something both recognizable and mesmerizing. In some cases, the character type is more quickly apparent then the desert creature playing it. From Alfred Molina's portrayal of a roadkill armadillo channeling Don Quixote to Bill Nighy's classic black hat honor-bound villain Rattlesnake Jake; from Ned Beatty's corrupt aged turtle politician to Isla Fisher's pure, tough, but naive lizard Ms. Beans; from Stephen Root's spot-on work with several western characters to Abigail Breslin's pig-tailed opossum child Priscilla hanging onto the hope of a strange new sheriff - every portrayal is captivating.
And as rich and detailed the characters, even more so is every plank, every dusty bottle hanging from a mobile, every grain of sand blowing through the dried out town. Every camera shot invokes classic western sensibilities, infuses modern action techniques like slow motion, humor or awe. Everything that Verbinski has learned is poured into this film.
Some of the humor is directed to children as deftly as a close range revolver shot, some more general and widespread like a shotgun blast of buckshot. When asked what name he goes by, Rango responds with avatars, pen names, and boasting one of the few men with a maiden name.
If you love westerns, go see Rango. If you love all of Johnny Depp's offbeat work, go see Rango. If you love well-crafted animation, go see Rango. If you love good cinema, definitely go see Rango!
Worth: Matinee and Blu-Ray
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